Radio The BBC's Witness, broadcast daily on the World Service and weekly on Radio 4, is a ten minute interview or documentary slot which investigates an event in the news from a historical perspective or commemorates some anniversary utilising an eyewitness's account and archive audio. Similar in style to The Reunion but with a much broader scope, a typical set of episodes can cover topics as diverse as far eastern revolutions, technological advances, media events or obituaries and are one of those programmes where it's impossible to do anything else during broadcast because you know it'll be one of the most enriching moments in the day. Because it is one of my favourite radio programmes and because I'm also fascinated by historical juxtapositions, I'm currently in the process of compiling a list of all the programmes available on the BBC's website, which I think is all of them, and then putting them into chronological order (using a similar process to my dvds) (shiver). The overall intention is then to post this list, either as a single post or most like a series of posts on this blog, in a similar style to the BBC 1963 series which inspired me to take this next step. Work is monotonous because there's no automatic way of expunging the date data from the website or than raw text from the podcast pages on the show all setting (unless you know better), so I'm taking it slowly, but I think in the end it'll be a worthwhile and extremely useful was of accessing this material. Find below one of the years I've already covered chosen not all at random because it's when I began senior school.
The Challenger disaster
In January 1986 a space shuttle launch went tragically wrong.
People Power in the Philippines
How four days of protests swept President Ferdinand Marcos from power in 1986.
The death of Olof Palme
On February 28 1986 the Swedish Prime Minister died.
Air attacks on Libya
It is almost 25 years since the US bombed Libya. Amongst those killed was Colonel Gaddafi's adopted daughter. But did the attacks strengthen his hold on power? April 1986.
Pollard Spy Case
An American spy admits selling secrets to Israel. June 1986.
Chilean students set on fire
How soldiers attacked and set fire to two students during an anti government protest in Chile. July 1986.
Cameroon's Lake Nyos Disaster
In August 1986 villagers in a remote region of Cameroon, near the Nigerian border, awoke to find hundreds of their friends and neighbours had died in the night. What had happened?
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
How working on Paul Simon's Graceland album turned the South African choir into global superstars.
Israel's Nuclear Secrets
In October 1986, Mordechai Vanunu revealed Israel's secret nuclear weapons programme to a British newspaper.
On December 23 1986 the Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov was allowed to return home from internal exile. He was greeted by a huge crowd at a Moscow railway station.